The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Blugold Beginnings receives grants

This past May, campus was filled with 1,000 area elementary school children learning what it was like to be a Blugold. This upcoming May that number will be expanded to 1,400, and a number of new outreach opportunities will arise, thanks to grants for the Blugold Beginnings program.

The program recently received a grant worth $274,028 from AmeriCorps, a national organization dedicated to community service and outreach.

Jodi Thesing-Ritter, associate dean of students and director of Blugold Beginnings, said the grant money, among other things, will be used to enroll 90 UW-Eau Claire students in school as AmeriCorps workers.

Eighty-five of these will be part-time student mentors, four will be full-time ‘College Coaches’ (with Bachelors Degrees), and one will be an intern.

Story continues below advertisement

These four ‘College Coaches’ will be placed around the community -one at Eau Claire North High School, one at Memorial High School, one for the three middle schools in Eau Claire, and the fourth in Arcadia, WI.

Chad Erickson, principal of Sherman Elementary School in Eau Claire, said they look forward to this partnership every year because it’s an opportunity for the success of future college students.

“Our students and families have gained a wonderful picture of what college is, both visually and cognitively,” he said.

The purpose of Blugold Beginnings, Thesing-Ritter explained, is to allow mentoring and support to Eau Claire area youth from low-income, minority, and first-generation college student families.

The program operates year-round, and includes after school programs, Saturday programs, summer camps, and Tour Day (held each May on the UW-Eau Claire campus).

Freshman Blugold Beginnings mentor Etzel Lopez believes her participation in the program, summer camps, and one-on-one tutoring changed her entire outlook on college.

“(The program and mentors) showed me that I really could go to college no matter what my situation was. It showed me there are no limitations at all,” Lopez said.

In addition to the academic support provided by the AmeriCorps students, the program will expand itself to include in-school tutoring, study groups, ACT/SAT prep, assistance with college applications and FAFSA forms, and service to an additional 500 individuals, said Thesing-Ritter.

Blugold Beginnings also received an additional grant from The Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corp, on behalf of the state of Wisconsin. This grant, worth $85,000, will also help in funding the program, thus allowing the outreach to go even further.

“It’s no small feat (to help every student). We’re working for direct support of the students, being able to help them in every way,” Thesing-Ritter said. “We’ve been able to do a lot of good with Blugold Beginnings, and a lot more of it will come from the help of this grant.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

The Spectator intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. The Spectator does not allow anonymous comments and requires a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments.
All The Spectator Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *